Solar installation to cut energy consumption at six hospitalsFriday, November 19, 2021
ENERGY consumption at six pubic hospitals is expected to decline by 22 per cent annually following the installation of solar energy and renewable energy systems at the facilities.
Under the Deployment of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector project, grid-tied solar PV systems and LED lighting solutions have been commissioned at May Pen Hospital; National Chest Hospital; and Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, while LED lightbulbs have been installed at Savanna-La-Mar Hospital, Black River Hospital; and Bellevue Hospital, for a total of 5,672 LED lighting solutions across all six public health facilities.
The disclosure was made during a recent handing over and project closure ceremony signalling the end of the five-year, US$1.2-million project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi Country Office in Jamaica, in partnership with Ministry of Health and Wellness; Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology; and Development Bank of Jamaica.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz, who announced the calculated 22 per cent reduction in the public health sector energy bill, said the project would make a welcome contribution to Government's ongoing efforts to achieve energy security. He said Government remains committed to reducing fossil fuel imports which constitute 90 per cent of Jamaica's energy mix, resulting in a national oil bill in excess of US$1 billion annually.
“As a Government, we must reduce our spend on imported oil and we must diversify our fuel sources,” Minister Vaz stated. “The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is cognisant that efficient energy use is critical to securing this brighter future. Government ministries and agencies must become models and leaders in energy conservation and environmental stewardship as stipulated by goal six of Jamaica's National Energy Policy,” he said.
Vaz noted that the air conditioning, lighting, and life sustaining equipment used in the health sector account for substantial energy use, and therefore the partnership with the GEF and UNDP represents another significant step towards energy security especially within a critical sector such as health.
Minister of state in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Juliet Cuthbert Flynn expressed gratitude for the energy installations at the six public hospitals and disclosed that energy demands and the energy efficient technologies are being integrated into new design upgrades and rehabilitation of several secondary care facilities.
She called the Deployment of Renewable Energy project a win-win for stakeholders, noting that “the execution of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and supply and installation of equipment guarantees energy efficiency and renewable energy savings at our health facilities”.
UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said UNDP welcomed the opportunity to contribute to Jamaica's development by supporting national efforts to reduce the pblic sector energy bill while advancing efforts toward low carbon development.
She commended the Government for “the successful implementation and outstanding results attained that have furthered the goal of diversifying the energy mix, increasing the penetration of renewables and promoting energy efficiency”. She said these achievements must be expanded so that sustainable universal access can be delivered to and for the benefit of all Jamaicans.
Antonio called on Government to further the project's work to establish a sustainable financing mechanism – the Energy Services Company (ESCO) model – to catalyse and sustain investments in sustainable energy through public private partnerships. “With such a mechanism being uncommon in the Caribbean, we believe this is an opportune time for Jamaica to seize this innovative financing model and stand as the pioneer in the region,” the UNDP resident representative outlined.